Ruby-throated Hummingbird (J. Pickering, 2014)

This fascinating little bird only weighs between two and six grams! Their wings beat about 53 times per second! The ruby-throated hummingbird is the most commonly seen hummingbird because its range is large and includes central and eastern North America as well as northern Mexico. This common hummingbird is easily identified between other birds because it is so small and moves so quickly. There are some issues when trying to identify this hummingbird from an insect that looks quite similar though. This moth is named the hummingbird moth for a good reason, they look almost identical at a quick glance! Along with the hummingbird moth, another 17 species of hummingbird in North America and Central America are very hard to distinguish from the ruby-throated. They vary in throat colour, shape and flight patterns. The ruby-throated hummingbird is usually emerald green on the back, belly and head. The male has a red throat and white chest while the female has an all-white throat and chest.

If you think you’ve discovered a rare yellow throated hummingbird sorry to disappoint you but it is common! It may just be the ruby-throated hummingbird that is covered in yellow pollen from the flowers they were sipping nectar from. Nectar feeding involves sticking their long beak into a flower to slurp out the nectar from the middle of it. Being dusted in pollen is a good thing because they are pollinating many flowers across a landscape as they move from one to another!

A hummingbird feeder can be put up on to a hook pole along with other bird feeders in your own backyard to attract the ruby-throated hummingbird. They like an easy-to-make mixture of sugar and water! Try this simple little setup to bring in this magnificent bird for a closer look.

– J. Pickering (2014)

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